Earlier, I wrote about Setting the Mood when writing. Today, I want to talk about the main story – putting words on paper. Did that just make you cringe? Relax! Make sure you’re comfortable and read through these tips on how to write using a writing prompt.
A writing prompt is a word or phrase that inspires your creative energy. It’s a suggestion or an idea for a writing topic. Typically prompts are used for a free-writing activity. This means that you can write anything that comes to mind – it doesn’t have to make sense or follow any grammatical rules. It opens up that part of your mind that, when faced with a blank page says, “I don’t know what to write about”.
Here’s some tips:
Read the writing inspiration provided and write whatever comes to mind.
Write for 5 minutes or 5 hours (don’t forget snacks and stay hydrated). I often set a timer for 20 minutes – I find that’s my sweet spot.
Write anything! Sometimes you’ll know immediately what you want to write; sometimes the words will surprise you; sometimes you’ll feel stuck. That’s all okay. If you're stuck, you can write about feeling stuck, ‘blah blah blah, I don’t know what to write’. Quite often, the words will come if you just keep writing. You may find that you don’t even use the writing suggestion – that’s totally okay – just go with it! Be light and playful or go deep and self-reflective. Let your mood decide what will work best for you each day. Don’t force yourself to write something just because you think you should write it. (in other words, don’t should on yourself.)
Try not to edit as you go; you will not be graded on grammar or spelling or character development. In fact, there’s a very good chance that no one will ever read what you are writing at all.
Most importantly, try to enjoy the process. That said, I will warn you; some days will be more enjoyable than others. But I often find the hard days are the ones when I end up getting the most out of this activity (even if I grumble all the way through).
Happy writing - and remember, it's your story - you've got this!
Once you've put your words on paper, it's time for the Afterparty!